Jenny's Blog

ICT within Primary Schools

November 20, 2012
by Jenny
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Vision Statement

The future of ICT within schools is always uncertain due to the development of technology. There are many articles that suggest different directions for ICT in schools including a BBC article suggesting that ICT could be replaced by computing science due to the current ICT curriculum being a mess. However, I feel that the technology nowadays consists mainly of mobile technology. An article released in May 2012 states how the next big thing in schools is going to be the use of tablets. I agree with this and feel that the future of ICT within the classroom relies heavily upon using tablets to enhance learning in ICT and other curriculum areas.

Tablets are one medium that can be used in digital literacy. I have found it hard to decide what takes the form of digital literacy but the University of Illinois (in America) has defined digital literacy as the following:

  • The ability to use digital technology, communication tools or networks to locate, evaluate, use and create information.
  • The ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers.

This therefore poses the question: What is digital technology and how can we use it in classrooms? Digital technology includes internet, mobile phones, televisions, cameras and tablets. Some of these forms of digital technology have been around for some time but there is always new ones being developed. As stated above, I feel that tablets should be used in classrooms because it is the newest technological development and will highly benefit children’s learning in ICT.

There are many ways we can use tablets in classrooms. The most common tablet is the iPad and has many great features that will enhance children’s learning in ICT and other curriculum subjects. An iPad can be used for any subject as there are a wide range of apps that can be downloaded. For ICT purpose, iPads allow children to work with more modern technology that develops their ICT skills through interactions with equipment.

Due to the evolving technology world, children need to learn how to use several apps for life after school. An article in July 2012 highlights the need for children to understand how to use apps as well as designing them for themselves. This would take me as an adult some time to understand and successfully design an app but with sufficient training I feel that I could teach children how to create apps. I also believe that the future of ICT in the classroom would require a teacher to have patience and dedication to finding appropriates amount of time on a topic such as this.

Using iPads will have a positive affect on children because they make creating projects more fun in my opinion. I had fun so therefore children surely will. There are many other benefits that iPads have within the primary classroom. Scientific Learning has identified ten benefits. These are:

  1. Children find them easier to use than computers
  2. Tablets are ready for the classroom because they are fully compatible with online teaching resources
  3. Children will be able to solve problems with technology than adults
  4. Easier to collaborate content creation
  5. Easier to record observations in all curriculum areas
  6. Tablets integrate with IT trends
  7. iPads make mobile computing easier
  8. Paperless innovation
  9. Help transport on trips
  10. Virtual experiences

One of the most useful apps was i-movie because it can be used alongside with any school subject to create a movie trailer or just a film project. There are endless possibilities of how i-movie can be introduced to a subject and there is ways to differentiate the learning as it is possible to use other apps alongside i-movie.

Teachers do not need to be experts with using apps because I have found that they are all either straight forward to use or can be figured out in a few minutes. Here are some examples of how you could use an iPad in school:

100 ways to use an iPad in school

Another huge development over the past years and the coming years is the internet. The internet is continually being updated to become faster and more user friendly. Instead of using books to research topics, there is a stronger use of the internet for this purpose. But the internet poses many dangers to children and e-safety is an area that needs to be taught to children before they can use the internet in school or at home. E-safety has not always been an issue but since the internet has become more world-widely used and more aimed at social networking the rate of dangers has risen hugely. Kidsmart is an excellent website that is full of relevant information regarding all aspects of e-safety that children are able to look at but schools need to have an e-safety plan for the entire and teach children about e-safety.

Overall, the future of ICT needs to follow technological advances. The current one is tablets and should be used in schools as frequently as possible. However, there are some issues with this. The main issue will be cost, as tablets are expensive to buy and some apps will have to be paid for in order for them to be downloaded from the internet. But it is an investment worth paying for as the children will engage more in lessons which will ultimately enhance their learning experiences.

November 8, 2012
by Jenny
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Green Screening with Paint.net

To set this type of green screening up it is just the same as green screening with an ipad (post below this one) but this type you just take a picture using an ipad and upload it onto a computer.

On Paint.net you can choose a background photo and merge it with the one you uploaded from the ipad. Uploading is very simple as you can just email the picture from the ipad and so therefore you can access the image on any computer. For ours, I took a picture of Claire against the green screen and then we uploaded the image onto the computer to merge with a dinosaur background. This is where we met some difficulties.

Our main difficulty was the fact that one image was portrait and the other was landscape. We tried to rotate the one but they both rotated instead. We began getting frustrated as we tried and we tried (with Helen’s help) to get them both the same way. Eventually we managed to get them both landscape by editing one image before opening it in Paint.net. In future, I will definitely make sure this does not happen agian!!

Then it became easier as we removed the green screen on the taken image using the ‘Chroma Key’ and then merged them together with the merge button. Unfortunately I cannot show the final product as technology has once again failed.

As they say technology is great when it works !!

 

 

November 2, 2012
by Jenny
7 Comments

Green Screening with an Ipad !

In this session, I learnt how to green screen like you would if creating a film. In simple terms green screening is when someone stands in front of a green or blue screen and film have a scene of a movie shot or a photo taken with a different background to the blank canvas that is behind them.

When Claire and I were green screening in the classroom we used an ipad to film the scene. On ipads there is an app called green screen that comes ready with 3D backgrounds. These include a rotating earth and a beach with swaying palm trees. For our film we chose to use the footage of an aeroplane taking off. I was going to be the actress so sat down on the floor of the green screen and left the filming to Claire. Before we could start the filming we had to remove the green screen from the ipad footage by tapping on the green parts of the screen. We found that you couldn’t get rid of all the green background but we thought this wouldn’t  prevent children because they will still enjoy the task at hand.

Advantages of Green Screening in the classroom:

  • fun
  • lots of opportunities for participation by all – acting, filming e.t.c
  • open ended – there are many activities children can do (create their own film)
  • can be linked to any topic as images for the background can be found using the Internet
  • easy to export from the ipad to a computer via the email setting as the film made will be saved into the ipads gallery

Disadvantages of Green Screening in the classroom:

  • the quality is not the best it could be
  • lots of steps to carry out when using green screen
  • for all children to be involved the school needs to have a number of ipads which often isn’t the case
  • those acting may not actually do any ICT in a lesson

My Green Screen Video:

 If you wish to do this yourself in the classroom, here is some tips on how to make a green screen for yourself.

 

October 27, 2012
by Jenny
3 Comments

i-movie in the classroom

Technology today has become advanced with the introduction of ipads. Ipads are a great addition to the classroom due to the endless amount of apps that can enhance ICT work.

One that we looked at in lesson was called i-movie that allowed you to create your own movie trailer. I-movie is quite simple to use and therefore accessible for many children as there is a wide selection of template trailers for a variety of genres. Within the templates, children can edit the credits page as well as the captions within the trailer. To add photos or videos into trailer, you need to have photos or videos already stored on the ipad or use the setting to create one within i-movie. Claire and I created our own movie trailer using photos that we had taken on an app called Photobooth (which children would find fun as it morphs your face) and then filmed some of our own footage through i-movie.

 

Issues with i-movie:

  • as a pair we struggled to export the movie from the ipad to the blogs and found that one of the only ways was to upload it onto youtube which in some schools is not seen as appropriate due to parents wish of child confidentiality
  • we had some confusion with how to get back to edit our trailer once we had said it was complete but found out that we had to go back to the start page and then choose our trailer that had automatically saved

Using i-movie in lesson:

This app will be great to use alongside Literacy where children are creating their own stories that they could turn into a film trailer but often schools don’t have the money to buy enough ipads for a class or even some of a class. If available ipads are a great addition to ICT resources and teachers should get to know how to use them so they can teach children.

October 23, 2012
by Jenny
2 Comments

QR Codes !!!!

At first when I heard this term and sat there thinking what the hell is a QR code but then felt a bit stupid when I found out it was one of these (I have seen them everywhere):

This one should take you to Wikipedia if you ever want to have a browse for some information that might not necessarily be true

From seeing a QR code I understand what they are and what they briefly achieve but for those who don’t, you can find excellent information on What is a QR code?  The site mentions some websites that can be used to create QR codes. I used Scan.me to create a couple of my own. It was simple to create a QR code and therefore children should easily be able to follow teacher instructions in how to create their own too. The first thing to do is to sign up to the website which is also easy to do and then click on new code. The easiest code to generate, and therefore the one I would use with children, is called Simple Text where you can write in questions or instructions for example. I also created a code to link this blog through the website QR code generator.

My Codes:

Ideas of how to use QR codes in lessons:

  • Treasure Hunts
  • Instructional Writing
  • Displays
  • Interactive Library or research purposes

I would use any of the above in lessons and would get children to create their own codes in order to create instructions for other class members as well as all the endless ways to use modern technology across the curriculum and into children’s homes after school hours.

 

October 22, 2012
by Jenny
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Using Scratch in Literacy

This session was aimed at thinking about how we can use the Scratch software in other school subjects. Tasha and I chose to look at how we can use Scratch in literacy. We had to create a resource that we could use to enhance and develop an aspect of literacy. We decided to create a game where children had to identify the fairy-tale creatures from the everyday creatures.

The aim of the game is to click on the fairy-tale creatures avoiding the other creatures. You will get a point for each fairy-tale creature clicked and lose a point for any other creature clicked. There is 30 seconds to get the highest score possible.

The game is good for using alongside a literacy lesson where children have been looking into different fairy-tale creatures within the fairy-tales topic. It could be a good assessment tool to see how much children have learnt about the topic.

The game is more suited for KS1 children to play but the work that follows in the ICT area is more suited to KS2. Children can create their own Fairy-tale sprite and background whilst exploring different scripts they can make themselves. Then for further development children can make their own game with teacher guidance or using the ‘Whack-a-Witch’ step by step guide.

Fantasy Game Instructions

Play the Game here (credit to Tasha for uploading it)

 

This game could easily be adapted for many literacy topics or themes which makes the link between ICT and Literacy strong.

October 13, 2012
by Jenny
1 Comment

Starting from ‘Scratch’

Well once again I have been introduced to yet another piece of software that I didn’t know existed. This one is called ‘Scratch’ and involves simple computer programming that is at a level that is appropriate for children.

At first it all seemed to point at being a little bit too difficult for children to follow as the page can look quite busy and overwhelming but this image below clearly shows what the main components from the software are. After that it was a case of learning how to get your ‘sprite’ (the character on the white page) to move.

To make the character move the way you want, you had to carefully script the movement required on the motion tabs and then use the control tab if you wanted the movement to be repeated. This was complicated enough for me as an adult let alone for children, so I would recommend when teaching children how to use this software you breakdown each aspect of ‘Scratch’ into small steps over a period of time. Steps can include the ones found in guides on the Internet as well as ones you can use to teach yourself from Scratch Exercise 1.

Once the basic steps have been taught over a few lessons, you can begin to create your own games and scenarios yourself using the wide range of sprites available. A great game that we looked at in lesson was the ‘Shark Attack Game’ that has cross curricular links to art. The game allows children to follow the guide and use all there new computing skills to create an interactive game that does provide them with a chance to make it their own through creating their own background or sprites. Once children have managed this there is no reason as to why children can’t create their own game along the same lines as the shark attack game. I enjoyed this task and think children would enjoy it too.

Overall ‘Scratch’ is a great innotative piece of software that allows children to be creative with ICT but teachers need to be aware that getting children to use this software confidently will take time and will require a lot of adult support. I’d use Scratch in ICT would you?

 

October 6, 2012
by Jenny
0 comments

E Safety and Cyber Bullying …. Dangers and ways to help !

Internet Safety is a key issue for schools today due to the world’s current society. The majority of the world has access to the internet now and therefore there are millions of people than can put up inappropriate items on the internet for children to see within school and websites that contain incorrect data that need to be avoided.

Ways in which teachers can limit children viewing inappropriate sites or incorrect data:

  • Try search’s before beginning a lesson
  • Give the children a list of sites to choose from
  • Demonstrate how to get to a particular website that you want children to use

 

However, it is hard for teachers to limit children from danger on the internet, as they can only do this whilst children are within school. Most children’s homes within the UK have internet access where a lot of parents won’t think about protecting their children on the internet as well. A lot of children now will use social networking sites at home as well, where there is a serious danger of children befriending others who are potential paedophiles.

 

The above highlights how easily children can access means of chat online which can lead to Cyber Bullying. Cyberbullying  is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.

There are many ways in which teachers can approach Cyberbullying in school. These can include:

  • Circle time – discussions about what cyberbullying is, how to prevent it from happening and what to do if you are being bullied online
  • Sorting sentences into nice things to say and nasty things to say
  • Posters
  • Drama activites

 

 

On the whole Internet Safety is key to protecting children online and should be taught discussed with children. On placements I have seen whole school plans for ICT where Internet Safety is the topic for a least one lesson a term as well as ideas such as Cyberbullying being taught in PSHE. This means that children are fully aware of the dangers available to them and what to do if any dangers appear whilst they are online.

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